It's time for the next colourful chapter of our big 'Daisys Go To America' Tour!

In fact this blogpost is a series of chapters in itself.  There are Workshop photos, then a trip to Miami and its art deco buildings, A visit to meet Betty Ford Smith - Queen of PineCone Quilting and other things along the way. I know I always say it but, make a cup of tea and settle in.

So, in the last post Mr Daisy and I were just leaving New York City. We woke up early to find that it was snowing! Little white flakes filling the sky. We braced ourselves against the cold and went out for one last breakfast at out favourite Starbucks, and then caught an Uber to the airport. 
Our plane was delayed for a few hours due to the weather. For a moment or two I wondered if it would be like those movies where people have to hire a car and drive overnight to get to an important event. In the end everything was fine, and it wasn't too long before we were boarding the plane. Although just before take-off the plane had to be de-iced! That was a new experience for us, I don't know if we ever have to de-ice planes in sunny Australia?

We took off - up up and away from New York City...
to Palm Beach, Florida!!!!

Snowy cold weather to warm balmy sunshine. 

Jen of Red Thread Studio Online met us at the airport. Jen had booked me for workshops in 2020. Unfortunately they had to be cancelled when the world turned upside down. We've since held Zoom workshops together and chatted over the years, so to finally meet in real life was wonderfully surreal!! 
(I have to say there aren't enough words in the world to thank Jen from Red Threads, she was the hostess with the mostest for our wonderful week in Florida. It is thanks to her that we made it to Florida and that we had such a special time.)

To add to the dream, she whisked us off to a big welcome dinner where I got to meet another long time blog/internet friend, and favourite fabric designer Jennifer Paganelli

That's Jen , Me and Jennifer. 

Have you ever noticed how lovely people with the name Jen/ Jenny/Jennifers are? 

Such a sweet photo of Jennifer and her husband, Peter.

And here we all are: Jen from Red Thread Studio, My Daisy, Lori and her team from The Inspired Sewist, lovely Jennifer Paganelli and there's Joey peeking in on the left hand side. ( Stay tuned for a fabulous quilt made by Joey later in the post). Thanks to Jennifer P's husband, Peter for taking the photo. 

A wonderful evening a beautiful sunset to top it off.

A bit of background info  - Jen from Red Threads has an online store so to have a venue for the workshops she paired up with Lori from The Inspired Sewist who has a fabulous shop with a class room, fabrics and a great range of sewing machines. It was a dynamic duo, and together they thought of everything and made it a super special 4 days for everyone. 

On our first workshop day Jen and I arrived early and filled the room with my quilts.

The Inspired Sewist Quilt Shop specialises in sewing machines and so they organised to have a Bernina 475 QE for every student. It made it very convenient for people to fly in and travel from afar. 

Plus it was a great chance for the participants to sew on a fabulous new machine and such pretty one too.

Lori and her team were there to give a demo on using them in the morning, and answered any questions throughout the day. Though the machines worked like a dream and were very straight forward to use. 

I'd be smiling like that too if I had a beautiful aqua sewing machine,

with a special Kaffe Fasset machine trolley case

Our first two days were a whirl wind of Whizz Bang wonders. Here are just a few of the blocks made. 

Wonderful bright colours...

and softer colours too

Colours that matched the sewing machine. 

And lots of happy fun!!

Ann gets a special shout out,

because she brought quilts in for Show & Tell that she had made from my patterns.  2  RicRac Razzamatazz  quilts and a Tickety-Boo quilt, but that's not all, it turns out she has actually made 5 Ric Rac Razzamatazz quilts and has another on on the go! 

She says these are her favourite patterns of all time because they are great for using quirky, fun and odd scrappy fabrics 

Gorgeous hand quilting on these 2 quilts. 

That leads us perfectly into the next day for our Ric Rac Razzamatazz workshop. 

Dana wanted to just make a pillow/cushion so we made a flower.

It makes me smile so much to see all of these happy faces again. 

It was St Patricks Day while I was there so Jen made sure we were properly attired. 

And Jen knows how to dress! Check out her shoes!!! Omgolly, don't we all want a pair of those!

There were some lucky snacks to keep up the energy for sewing.

Maricely brought in her Yo-Yos A La Mode quilt. Wow!!
This is one of my most loved quilts, but its also the least made of my patterns, because it's a lot of Yo-Yo sewing, so I'm always extra impressed when I know someone has made it!!  Maricely's was wonderful! She used lots of spotty dotty fabrics to make it sparkle, and we all loved how it was so squishy and cuddly to handle. 

Just recently Maricely emailed me a photo of her fabulous version of Pockets Full Of Posies that she has just finished. I love her use of printed fabric flowers.  It's fun when you think about it, how different my patterns are - one minute you can make a modern Yo-Yo quilt and the next you're cutting up denim jeans and adding flowers. 

Our last workshop was making the "Sunny Day in Daisy Town" quilt. 

Liz made a Daisy Town with flower carts!! 

Ingrid made a fishing town with flamingos,

And everyone got their sunny centers made. 

More Show And Tell, this time by Joey Metler- I may have shared photos of this before because Joey made this after we had a Zoom Whizz Bang workshop. The blocks are so perfect for Halloween with lots of opportiniy for themed fabrics and extra embellishment. Joey had sent me photos when she made it but it's always an extra treat to see it in real life.

And that was it! 4 days of fast and furious, fun-filled workshops! Huge thank you to Jen from Red Threads, Lori and her super team ( Nan, Roxanne and Carol) and The Inspired Sewist, and to all of the lovely quilters who came along to learn new whimsical ways of playing with fabric.


The next day was a chance to go sightseeing.

It had been a long time dream of mine to see the Art Deco buildings in Miami so we caught a train called the Brightline from West Palm Beach. The hours train ride was a great way to see the countryside, and different towns that as we whooshed along. 

Hello Miami!

Another bus to Ocean Drive and there they were - the beautiful art deco buildings!

I love the pastel colours, the lines and use of circles, the wonderful fonts used for the buildings names. 
I'm lucky Mr Daisy is so patient with me as I take photos.

So much to love!!!

This Taco cafe caught my eye with its colours and the tiles. 

After I'd taken a zillion photos of ice-cream coloured buildings we hopped in an Uber and took off for Little Havana. We were determined to see as much of Miami as we could in the few hours we had there.

We immediately loved the vibe of Little Havana with its colourful street planters and painted signs, interesting shops and buzzing restaurants. 

It was lunch time and and we walked past a big open restaurant as a band was warming up to play.  We heard the first few bars of the toe tapping cuban music and Mr D and I both immediately decided to go in.  It was the right place and right time to hear great music, eat cuban food with a few mojitos on a beautiful warm spring day. It is one of those travel moments that Mr D and I often fondly remember, especially now that we're in the middle of a chilly winter. 

It turns out the Ball and Chain is an iconic nightclub from the 30's, 40's & 50's that has hosted many great musicians over the years. 

This photo suited being in black and white. 

But then I'm always attracted to colour , how fabulous is that shade of green of the walls.

And the beautiful tiles worn with time and history.

I took this photo of Mr D standing next to the giant cigar and with all the great signs and colour, I only noticed the painting of the naked woman when I was uploading the pic for this post. How funny!! 

Thanks Miami- we had the best day!


The next day we were up bright and early for a day I'd waited forever for!! 
We were going to meet Betty Ford-Smith - the Queen of Pine Burr quilts!

Jen from Red Threads picked us up and off we went to Sebring. It was another wonderful chance for Mr Daisy and I to enjoy views of the country side, and hear stories about aligators.

Betty is a joy! From the moment we arrived we were swooped up into a warm welcome as Betty shared her home, and quilts and stories. 
Betty's home is like a museum of folk art with collections of everything! Masks, dolls, pottery baskets, furniture, paintings.. everything!! 

Even an incredible collection of beaded flags from Haiti. 

Small Beaded circles.. 

Masks everywhere!!

And then there are her amazing quilts. 

Here we are, kindred spirits sharing our colourful quilts!!

It was interesting seeing our quilts together and realising the differences in the way we make them, but then also the similarities in our fascination and love of this style of quilt making.

Betty makes her amazing Pine Burr quilts by hand, and quite often they are King Size masterpieces that can take up to 6 months to make. 

She also makes little teeny weeny Pine Burrs. 

Such gorgeous texture!

Besides her masterpiece quilts she also has a great collection of vintage Pine Burr quilts. 

Jen from Red Threads, Betty and I, big smiles and happy hearts. 

We can't forget to thank Betty's husband Smitty who cooked us a most delicious bbq lunch.  

All up it was a magical day of like minded people sharing joy and passion for creativity and beautiful things. 

EXCITING NEWS- Betty has a book coming out very soon - in July!!! 
It's called "Pinecone Quilts" and is all about the tradition of Pine Cone quilts- the history of these quilts, instructions, and project patterns of Bettys beautiful quilts, plus her vintage Pine Burr Collection and more. We had a sneak peek of the book on our visit and it's definitely one to add to the book collection. 

You can pre-order it at the C&T Publishing website
or here at Amazon 
Or ask your local quilt shop to stock it. 
Find out more about Betty here at her website.

The next day....

A little last look around our beautiful apartment building and then it was off to the airport. 

Beautiful bogainvilleas in full bloom. 

The grand foyer. 

and the longest hallways I've ever seen!

Sometimes lime green is just the right pop of colour.

and it matches my suitcases.  Yes- had 4 suitcases! Mostly quilts and then our 2 small carry-on cases held our clothes. 

Once again it was time to fly, upwards and onwards to our next adventure... 

For anyone interested in following up the people/places featured in this post here are some handy links to their websites:

Jen - Red Thread Studios Online - Jen stocks all of my patterns!! A great way to save on postage for US orders. She also holds online workshops and interviews with quilters so its worth joining her newsletter to keep up with her events.
The Inspired Sewist - For super helpful sewing machines, and fabulous fabrics, and and great classes.
My patterns shop- Downloadable PDF's and printed patterns, plus Ric Rac bundles, templates etc.